Senseless antagonisms

BY: Yaw Boadu Ayeboafo
National Patriotic Party

The senseless antagonisms and needless feuds within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) have claimed another life, another loyalist vote. If indeed Sadie Abubakar, aka Ogundi, was murdered for a different position on the suspension of the national chairman of the NPP, Mr Paul Afoko, then we have a long way to go in our claim to be a plurastic multi -party democracy. Murdering in the name of intra-party feuds is an act of senseless bestiality.

 

It means that not much has been learnt since the murder of the Upper East Chairman of the party. The question then must be how many lives must be destroyed as a means of ensuring that there is no dissent within the party.

It is imperative to state that we have chosen for ourselves a constitutional democracy, which means respect for the rule of law, due process and the need to respect rules and regulations. As has been pointed out always democracy is not just about numbers, but more importantly rules and regulations. It is only when rules and regulations have been fulfilled that numbers count. Democracy means there should not be any arbitrariness, impunity, lawlessness or chaos.

Surrendering part of fundamental rights

As it has been said, one can force a horse to the riverside, but one cannot force it to drink the water. It is time for all of us to realise that when we join political parties, we surrender part of our fundamental rights for the good of the collective. Therefore, for as long as we want to be loyal members of the party, we must follow the laid-down rules in determining how we relate to the party. We must not demonstrate open defiance towards the party even where we do not agree with certain developments. In such situations, we have to resort to the internal mechanisms of conflict resolution to resolve any misunderstandings rather than open repudiation of decisions which we do not find favourable.

This fact has been underlined by the statement that the greatest test of our democratic credentials is to tolerate the viewpoints we do not share, for if we are willing only to listen to the views we like, we become sycophants and fundamentalists. Any form of violence employed to demonstrate political disagreement, especially the resort to murder, cannot be supported and those with such predispositions are not democrats.

Accordingly, just as those suspected to have conspired to murder Mahama Adams, the Upper East regional chairman of the NPP are facing criminal trial, those who have been arrested in connection with the murder of Abubakar must equally be made to face the music. Once it could be established that the murder was motivated by his political stance and not any unlawful act, so should those who think that it is only their opinions that must hold sway be made to account for their dastardly acts. For far too long we have tolerated and condoned criminality, including murder in the name of political dissent.

People who cannot stand dissent, especially intra-party dissent, cannot claim to be politically mature. They should not deserve the sympathy of others.  Beyond that, we must all appreciate that when we are given the trust and confidence of the people, it does not mean that they will follow us uncritically irrespective of what we do to hurt their feelings, especially when they are convinced about a cause and are clear as to the course to take to realise their dreams and objectives.

Appeal

My humble appeal is to both factions within the NPP to appreciate the futility of continuing with the senseless antagonisms and make a conscious effort at genuine reconciliation.

Now that Mr Afoko has seen the need to employ the established party machinery to seek redress, his spokespersons and all party members and officers must understand that no individual is more important than the party. The best means of upholding party loyalty is not to defiantly and openly rubbish established party structures and processes as if the only means of authority is grass-roots support.

We must be exercised anytime violence is committed in the name of inter-or intra-party dissent. We cannot all agree on everything. The beauty of democracy as captured in a local axiom,  “kabi ma menka bi,” means when you have made your views known, give me the opportunity to equally express my position such that we will both appreciate how we feel about an issue.

Until we accept that democracy does not mean everybody agreeing to the same thing, but respecting rules and that numbers matter in decision making after fulfilling rules, we may waste out time on needless and senseless antagonisms that only alienate and deplete our numbers.